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When you decide to apply for an FHA refinance loan, there are several questions you'll need to answer to set the approval process in motion. Some questions are about planning issues, others are directly related to whether or not an FHA refinance loan is for you.

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FHA Refinance Questions You Should Be Ready To Answer

February 11, 2009 - When you decide to apply for an FHA refinance loan, there are several questions you'll need to answer to set the approval process in motion. Some questions are about planning issues, others are directly related to whether or not an FHA refinance loan is for you.

WHAT KIND OF FHA REFINANCING DO I NEED?

If you have a conventional home loan, an FHA refinancing mortgage is the product for you. If your home loan is an FHA mortgage, you can apply for an FHA Streamline mortgage. These FHA loans are much faster and easier to apply for since you are already in the FHA loan system. You don't need to go shopping for a conventional home mortgage refinancing package if you qualify for an FHA Streamline loan.

IS MY LENDER WILLING TO HELP ME REFINANCE OR SHOULD I SHOP AROUND?

FHA refinancing loans are offered by participating lenders-they aren't available at every bank. If your loan officer says your current bank doesn't want to pursue FHA refinancing options in your case, shop around for a participating lender who can help.

HAVE I EVER FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY?

If you have filed for bankruptcy, don't assume you can't be approved for an FHA refinancing loan or an FHA Streamline loan. While filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy doesn't look good on a credit report, in many cases if you have made your payments on time and have lived up to the terms of your bankruptcy agreement, an FHA refinancing loan may still be possible. Never assume your case is hopeless. Make your payments on time, stay current, and talk to your loan officer about your specific circumstances. You might be surprised at what you learn.

WHAT IS MY CREDIT SCORE?

When applying for an FHA refinance mortgage, some lenders will ask you to rate your own credit, while others may simply do a credit check. If you have bad credit, you aren't automatically disqualified from an FHA refinance loan. FHA mortgages are intended to help people get into and keep their homes; if you have been making on-time payments and your overall pattern of credit shows you've been diligent, you can still be considered for a refinancing loan through the FHA. Those who fell on hard times when the economy grew bad may find a second chance thanks to an FHA mortgage refinancing package. Don't assume you shouldn't apply-let your loan officer work with you to determine the best way to proceed.

HOW MUCH OF MY INCOME GOES TOWARD MY CURRENT MORTGAGE?

The amount of your current income and the amount you pay for your existing mortgage are very important. Be ready with exact figures and don't forget to include any extra income you might be bringing in from a part-time job or your spouse's income.

WHAT KIND OF PROPERTY DO I OWN?

One requirement for an FHA refinance loan is that you occupy the property you are refinancing. This requirement isn't an issue when you take out a typical mortgage on a property, but once you begin applying for FHA loans and refinance loans, you'll find the occupancy requirement is a key issue. In some case you may be able to get refinancing on a multiple-occupant home such as a duplex or condominium; these instances are covered by rules specific to each FHA refinancing program.

There are many differences between FHA Streamline refinancing and refinancing from a non-FHA mortgage into an FHA loan. Streamline loans, for example, may not require a new appraisal while an FAH refinance loan on a property purchased with a conventional mortgage may require a re-appraisal in some cases. Ask your lender about your specific needs.